(extra high strength) cable. (Push-up masts can
use lighter material; check the instruction manual.)
Don’t use non-metallic rope that will stretch. If
you require insulated guys, Phillystran (www.
phillystran.com) is somewhat expensive but well-tested and fairly easy to work with.
To attach the guys to the tower and the
guy point, use the proper clamps, thimbles,
turnbuckles, shackles, and properly-rated bolts.
Know how to secure the guy wire properly. EHS
cable is much easier to terminate using Big Grip
Dead-end preforms ( preformed.com/energy/
instead of individual Crosby clips ( www.thecrosbygroup.
com). Finally, if you use turnbuckles, include safety wires to
prevent loosening from vibration.
climber uses a nylon
instead of the obsolete
(and dangerous) leather
lineman’s belt (Figure
1). These are designed
for comfort and
security when working
on a tower. If you do
fall when wearing them,
you’ll be kept upright
and in a position where
you can breathe.
There are two types
of lanyards for climbing:
positioning. The first
type decelerates you
instead of an abrupt
and damaging stop. The
second holds you in
position on the tower to
work comfortably. Don’t
rely on ropes to keep
Slings are loops of
nylon webbing that you
use to lift and hold equipment. Acquire an assortment
of slings in various lengths and widths. Learn how to use
them for lifts and tying off equipment and tools. You’ll
be amazed at how handy they are.
If you plan on doing tower work on a regular basis,
spend a little money on high-quality climbing rope.
Braided rope is more flexible than garden-variety twisted
strands. Kernmantle rope has an abrasion-resistant sheath
over the core of strong fibers.
Be sure to take care of your rope ( www.ehsdb.com/
what the right knots are and how to tie them is important
too ( www.arbormaster.com/Rigging%20Knots.pdf).
Be sure to use high-quality pulleys and blocks that are
rated for loads you intend to lift. A snatch block opens up
so that you can attach it anywhere along a rope. Marine
pulleys are intended for prolonged use in the weather and
won’t rust and freeze up. Learn to use a gin pole (Figure 2)
to lift and position heavy loads so you can work safely.
Lanyards, ropes, and slings are attached with
carabiners: spring-loaded clips that are able to handle
loads of thousands of pounds (Figures 3 and 4). Locking
carabiners require a two-step procedure to release the clip.
Be sure you use load-rated carabiners from a reputable
manufacturer. You’ll want to have plenty of these around
when doing tower work!
Finally, be sure to inspect your gear before each use —
n FIGURE 2. A gin pole is a tube with a fixture
on one end that attaches to the tower leg. The
other end holds a sturdy pulley. The lift rope runs
through the tube and over the pulley. Gin poles
hold heavy objects in position while you work on
them. (Graphic courtesy of the American Radio
n FIGURE 3. Here are some examples of (left to right) locking clips, a belt-type positioning
lanyard, a shock-absorbing lanyard, and an adjustable lanyard. (Photo courtesy of Don Daso K4ZA
and the American Radio Relay League.)
May/June 2018 21